Tag Archives: cooking

Book Review! Vegans Take Note!

cover aquafabulousAquafabulous

100 Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba

By Rebecca Coleman

Robert Rose Publications

ISBN 978-0-7788-0564-9

Suggested Retail $19.95

 

Review by Joan Leotta

 

This is a book all vegans will want to have on their shelves, especially vegans who want to bake.

Making eggless meringue with bean juice and how to “bind” mixes without the addition of eggs. May not sound appealing on the face of it, but truly, Agquafaba is a godsend to those who want to make dishes that in the non-vegan world, use eggs.

As such, committed vegans have a strong ally in the form of the book Aquafabulous by Rebecca Coleman published by Robert Rose Press.—- A luscious looking photo of a cake slathered in meringue graces the aqua blue cover of this book, which according to its press release, “has blown open the world of vegan baking. Things that were once considered impossible, are now possible and the options are endless.”

 

As I have come to expect from any book published by Robert Rose,  the first pages of this volume describe the element in question and tell us the why and how of it. The rest of the book is devoted to a stellar collection of recipes ranging from breakfast to desserts. Her baked goods selection includes such delights as French macaroons, strawberry shortcake and donuts

 

The recipe portion is a wonderful exercise in exploring the use of this ingredient—new to me, but oh so useful to vegans everywhere. Of course, it is no surprise that someone with Coleman’s credentials has created such delightful recipes with easy-to-follow direction and helpful hints. Coleman is a Vancouver BC food blogger and the author of a foodie blog, “Cooking by Laptop” that focuses on recipes and her love of cooking. In addition she loves to travel, enjoys eating baked goods (especially donuts) herself.

 

If you know any vegans, steer them toward this book or purchase it for them as a gift. They will thank you for it—if you are lucky, they will thank you with one of the baked goods she mentions.

 

Here is a sample of one of the recipes in the book

 

S’Mores Cups (from Aquafabulous by Rebecca Coleman. Used with permission of the publisher)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out a 6-cup muffin pan, lined with paper liners

Ingredients

1-cup vegan graham cracker crumbs

¼-cup vegan butter alternative, melted

½ cup chopped 70 percent bittersweet (dark) vegan chocolate

3 TBSP unsweetened non-diary milk

¼-cup aquafaba

2 TBSP granulated sugar

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1/8 tsp vanilla bean seeds

Method

In a small bowl, stir together, graham cracker crumbs and melted butter to combine. Place two tablespoons of the crumb mix in the bottom of each muffin cup, then pack down with a glass. Bake in the preheated oven for ten minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a wire rack/

Fill a small saucepan with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. IN a heatproof metal bowl, combine chocolate and non-diary milk. Set metal bowl on saucepan so that it fits tightly and does not touch the water below. Stir chocolate until melted and smooth. You want the ganache to be smooth, glossy, and fairly runny, not thick and lumpy. If it is too thick, add a bit more milk. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of melted  chocolate over each graham cracker base, then shake pan to spread it around so that it forms an even layer. Transfer to freezer for at least 30 minutes.

In a mixer bowl, combine aquafaba, sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla seeds. Set mixer speed to low and beat for two minutes. Turn up speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Set to highest speed and beat mixture until fluffy and peaks form, about four to six minutes. It will have a similar texture to marshmallow  fluff.

Spoon as much fluff as possible into each muffin cup, then return to fridge for at least thirty more minutes or overnight. You may have leftover fluff.

Just before serving, pop cups out of muffin tins, peeling back the paper liners. Use torch to toast the tops if desired, and serve.

 

 

What a Day!

It’s not even ten am yet and already I have been hard at work on the computer, but am not yet dressed!

First thing–saw that Silver Birch has posted my poem What we took with us when we moved, as a part of their moving day series–warning, this one is sad.

Then, I opened my gmail account and there were the page proofs for Summer in a Bowl!!!!
Amazing work by the artist Rebecca Zeissler.
Countdown to publication day of September 30!!!!!!
You can order the book now , pre-order on THEAQLLC, Amazon and BN
Those who pre-order before the launch date of September 30 can email me a copy of the receipt and be in a drawing to win a copy (signed) of the first book in the series, WHOOSH!
There is a recipe in the back of this one and gardening tips
Excitement!!!!!!!

Never Done

A writer’s work is never done!

I am busy working on PR, blog hops etc for Summer in a Bowl and also at the same time working on poems, my usual quota of articles, and coordinating with my publisher on revisions in the texts of the NEXT TWO Rosa books–Rosa and the Red Apron and Rosa’s Shell

 

Heather Zeissler of THEAQLLC has been wonderful to work with.

If you want me to come to your school to talk about the process of writing picture books or  to talk to your group about how I got started writing picture books, just email me at joanleotta@atmc.net

 

 

 

C. Hope Clark Shares a Secret

C. Hope Clark’s newest series is set in one of my favorite places in all the world–Edisto Island, SC. We spent many happy holidays there as a family and Joe and I welcomed the new Year there for several years running. The place is magical. And if we are to believe Hope there is mystery lurking in every corner as well.

Never fear, Hope’s heroine solves all the mysteries and the miscreants are punished. Of course, what happens when a good mystery is solved? Celebration! And there is no better way to celebrate than with a meal of Edisto shrimp. Hope has shared heroine Callie’s fave recipe with us in this post–you may not be able to buy Edisto shrimp where you live, but do look for the freshest, wild caught domestic shrimp you can find.

 

Displaying Echoes of Edisto.jpgDisplaying Echoes of Edisto.jpg

Callie Jean Morgan’s Favorite Lowcountry Meal

By C. Hope Clark

Writing a mystery series set at a beach I am often enticed to visit the coast and as many seafood restaurants that my stomach can bear. In South Carolina, we do mainly shrimp and crab with a wide assortment of fish easily caught off our shore. While I could eat my weight in crab, one of my absolute favorite coastal recipes is shrimp and grits.

Non-Southerners often turn up their noses at grits, but just let them taste them in this concoction, and man-oh-man, their tongues will slap their faces silly wanting more. Every dignified South Carolina eatery has a shrimp and grits recipe on the menu, each with a spin or twist of its own, some almost too rich to finish.

In my newest release, Echoes of Edisto, (released August 5, 2016), with all that I throw at Callie Jean Morgan, she needs this sort of comfort food. Something to coat her belly, relying on the harvest caught in her beloved Edisto waters. Food from her home territory she loves so dang much.

Echoes is the third in the Edisto Island Mysteries, and the South Carolina coast is learning to love the stories. Information about the books greets every Edisto tourist in their rental, a local magazine keeps a feature ongoing about the series, and every single visitor’s center in South Carolina contains an Edisto Beach Tourist Guide which flaunts the Edisto Island Mysteries.

So let me introduce you to shrimp and grits, to entice you to visit . . . and pick up the books. This recipe is one I learned on Edisto Island, which I’ve adjusted a bit for my own taste so that you never fail to lick the bowl clean.

CALLIE’S SHRIMP AND GRITS

Serves four.

 

FOR SHRIMP ROUX:

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and whole

3-4 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt (by taste)

Black pepper (by taste and optional)

Cayenne pepper (by taste)

6 tablespoons bacon drippings (or half bacon droppings / half olive oil)

½ cup diced onion

½ cup diced pepper, sweet banana or bell

4 tablespoons flour

2 cups chicken broth or chicken bouillon

Crumbled bacon

 

FOR GRITS:

2/3 cup grits (regular, not quick 5-minute grits)

2 cups water

½ cup cream (preferably the heavy stuff)

No salt

 

Peel the shrimp, careful with removing all shell and legs, and place meat in bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice. Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. (NOTE: the saltiness in the shrimp and roux is the reason you avoid the salt normally cooked into grits.) Let set so flavors mingle.

 

In a skillet, cook enough bacon to make 6 tablespoons of drippings, 6-10 slices depending on the fattiness of the bacon. Remove bacon. Sauté onion and banana and/or bell peppers in the grease, medium heat, until translucent. No more than 10 minutes.

 

Gradually sprinkle flour over vegetables, stirring in one tablespoon at a time to avoid lumpiness. Stir constantly. Stir all for 2-3 minutes until browned.

 

Add shrimp, liquid and all, to skillet. Add 1 ½ cup broth gradually, stirring constantly, letting liquid mix well with the browned flour. You’ll see the soft brown gravy start to happen. The shrimp should turn opaque and pink after 2-3 minutes. Add remainder of broth, if needed, to thin the gravy and avoid lumping.

 

Either start grits halfway through this process, or complete roux and set aside to remain warm, but do not fix grits in advance of the roux. You want the grits to be fresh, hot and creamy. Bring water to a boil then add grits. Lower to medium-high and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking. Once completed, add the cream and stir for another 2 minutes. Remove from burner.

 

Put grits in a bowl. Ladle roux in the center. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

 

Oh good gracious, a meal to die for . . . oh wait, I don’t want to give away the story!

 

BIO

  1. Hope Clark is the creator of The Edisto Island Mysteries as well as the Carolina Slade Mysteries. She is also an avid presenter, speaker, and teacher about writing and earning a living as a writer, in much demand at writers’ conferences and libraries. Her latest project, beside yet another Edisto book, is honoring a request to read her own Edisto stories for the Books for the Blind program. www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com

 

 

The Next Step!

The next step in the process of getting Summer in a Bowl into the hands of readers is preparing a summary. Now, if I had done a more traditional query and had been working with a publisher I did not know, the summary would have been in my query letter. As you recall, in this case I was approaching the publisher who had done WHOOSH! so, after a phone conversation, I just sent him the entire manuscript.

For me, the summary is the hardest part of the process. I love to talk about my book. I get very enthusiastic and well, restricting myself to just a few words–rough!

This summary will be what potential future readers will see on Amazon. Would you be interested in buying the book after reading this?  If you have changes to suggest, please let me know. My publisher and I both believe in this book and want to see it in the hands of as many children as possible.

Please look this over and let me know if any changes are needed!

Summary for Summer in a Bowl By Joan Leotta

Rosa and her Aunt Mary spend every Thursday together in the summer, tending Aunt Mary’s garden.

On this last Thursday of the season, they harvest the vegetables and Aunt Mary cooks them. Rosa is not sure she wants to try them until her father proclaims the dish, “Delicious!” and Rosa discovers that the soup is a way to preserve all of her summer fun. Summer in a Bowl is a wonderful introduction to the joys of gardening with children and the fun of cooking with children.

 

 

 

Sweet and Hotter than Honey!

Sweet thoughts for Dad

 

In the course of my work as a food writer, I am sometimes offered new food products to try. This one is a timely offering for those of you who have Dads who like their food with a bit of extra “kick”. These products, as a group are known as Henry’s Humdingers. They are a set of are honey sauces with spices that bring up the heat. Eaten alone or, better yet, used to flavor foods on the grill, from the roast pan and on appetizer cheese, these will make meals more lively. Made with raw honey and spices, there is one more sweet fact about these items which may well become as the ad says, the “secret ingredient” in your summer cooking. That extra sweetness is that these sauces were developed by a young man who is donating part of what he earns to The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees. You can find out more about the product and the need to care for our precious honey bees at the Humdinger website, www.henryshumdingers.com

 In 2011 founder Henry won the award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011. His product is on shelves in stores in 27 different states and the District of Colombia. Stores that carry the product range from small organic specialty shops to top-of-the-line grocery chain, Wegman’s.

 

At this time, there are no stores in my home area carrying the delightful piquant-power packed sweets. Mine came in the mail. I received, from the company, to try, their

Father’s Day, the company special four-pack that includes of some of its most popular sauces.  It’s priced at 19.95 plus shipping for Father’s day. The four are Grumpy Grandpa – garlic & cayenne, Naughty Nana -ginger & pepper, Phoebe’s Fireball- chipotle & cinnamon & Diabolical Dad – habanero & lime.

 

My husband (appropriately for Father’s Day!) is the hot food lover in our family so he gave the four products a taste test from the point of view of a heat loving palate.

Here are his findings from tasting the four varieties plain.

Grumpy Grandpa: a little heat, not too much, garlic aftertaste

Phoebe’s Fireball: Good taste, nice heat and counterpoint of cinnamon. No aftertaste

Naughty Nana: The pepper and the ginger work well together,

Diabolic Dad: hottest of the four, the lime offers a cool counterpoint to the heat. This one was my husband’s favorite.

 

My husband said that while the four were ok as dipping sauces on their own, he’d like to see them paired with food in recipes and for that, the website offers plenty of suggestions/ www. Henryshumdingers.com. I was happy to learn that the products contain no msg, and are therefore, safe for me to eat when I try out some of the recipes on the site. I’m looking forward to it.

 

If you have a heat loving Dad in the house, place your order soon so you can get the package in time for Father’s Day. Maybe place another order for Fourth of July entertaining while you are at it!

 

 

Joan’s Humdinger Wings in the oven.

Simply apply about 1 T of your favorite blend to each wing and bake until done. Delicious! The company offers a recipe for Icarus chicken wings (see below) for two dozen wings, enough for a party.

 

Joan’s suggestion for Have you a favorite honey and carrot recipe? Use one of these honeys instead of a plain honey and the veggie will add zip as well as color to your meal. I usually add a couple of tablespoons of honey, and an equal number of T of butter to the carrots and then bake them in the oven at 350 until tender.

 

       Here is the recipe for Henry’s Icarus Chicken Wings–courtesy of Henry’s Humdingers

Ingredients

24 chicken wings

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

3T garlic powder

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp white pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

One 6 oz jar of Diabolical Dad tm

3 T dark brown sugar

Ranch dressing for serving

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Put wings in the flour, shake off excess and set on plate, in a large pot, heat several inches of oil to 360. When oil is hot, put wings in flour one more time, shake off excess.

Deep fry the wings until crispy and golden, while wings are frying, mix the Diabolical Dad and brown sugar. Remove wings form oil, pat dry and then dip in the honey mix to coat. Lay cooked wings on baking sheet, bake until dry, about 12 minutes. Serve with ranch dressing.

Last week Taste of Home

Hi!

My article appeared in Last Sunday’s Sun News, but the online version was delayed. Thought all of you out there might like to see it.

 
Hmm, seems to be a problem with the copy function. See in minute
 
 
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